Nothing is more frustrating than wanting help but not knowing how to go about receiving it. This is especially true when it comes to seeking therapy. Taking that first step to recovery can be scary and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re ready to kick off your therapy journey, keep reading to learn 3 things you should ask yourself when you’re seeking therapy.
A couple months ago, I opened up on my Instagram about my experiences with therapy and how I finally felt like it was time for me to find the right therapist for me! After a year plus of dealing with the pandemic, managing my career, business motherhood and LIFE… I knew it wasn't something I could put off any further. I knew that I wanted help unpacking some of my traumas so that I could be the best person possible for my son and not put on him anything that wasn't his to carry by accident. But finding a therapist isn’t always easy.
Truth be told, I spent months looking and became so discouraged and frustrated. After learning that my insurance covers therapy, I started looking at who accepted my insurance and I was so disappointed that there weren't many choices of therapists that looked like me and were also accepting new clients. I was also very aware that just because they look like me doesn't mean that they will automatically be a good fit for me.
HERE’S THE THING ABOUT THERAPY
I just want to say that nothing has to be wrong in your life for you to go to therapy. Like I shared on my instagram story, therapy is a form of self-care! So no, you don’t need a big traumatic reason to go to therapy. Whether you’re trying to tackle personal struggles or issues, or just want to go to therapy for personal reasons, I think it’s a great choice friend! There are so many benefits that come with going to therapy. Having a safe and open space to vent, decompress, and lay it all out there can be helpful. Therapy is a great tool that will help with your mental health, personal development, personal healing, and overall happiness.
6 IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN SEEKING THERAPY:
1. WHY ARE YOU SEEKING THERAPY?
Before starting your therapy journey, it’s important to understand why you’re seeking therapy in the first place. Are you battling depression? Or are you grieving something? Or are you just looking to improve your outlook/quality of life? There is no right or wrong answer, but knowing why you want therapy will help you reach your goals.
2. WHAT ARE YOUR ULTIMATE END GOALS?
Now that you know why you want therapy, what are your ultimate end goals with receiving treatment? Do you want to be happier? Get over a breakup? Feel less anxiety? Find clarity in your life? What is your WHY?
I find that it is always good to have something to work towards. It makes showing up for yourself and committing to the process journey easier, especially on the hard days.
3. HOW MUCH CAN YOU AFFORD TO PAY?
Another thing to consider before starting your therapy is payment. How much can and are you willing to budget for therapy? Yes, out-of-pocket costs for sessions vary, depending on if you have insurance or not, co-pays and therapist payment terms, and if they have a sliding scale. Understand what you can work with now so that you can find someone that aligns with you.
4. WHAT TYPE OF THERAPIST ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Now let’s talk about that ideal therapist. It’s important to find someone that will make you comfortable enough to open up and be honest (we’ll get into that later). So it’s ok to be a little picky. Does your therapist share the same cultural background as you? Do you prefer a male over a female therapist? Is an emphasis on religion a requirement for you? Would you feel comfortable talking to someone closer to your age group?
Remember when I said that finding a therapist is like dating? Understand that your first few connections may not work out and that is perfectly ok. Just be patient and keep the faith. And when you do find someone you think that you can work with, make sure that you two are on the same page. Ultimately your therapist’s goals for your treatment should align with your needs and apply to your overall growth and healing.
5. HOW WILL YOU FIND A THERAPIST?
I find that this is the hardest part for most people. It’s hard because it requires a little work and research on your part. Sometimes you’re going to be told no, get no responses, or have to initiate contact. But it’s totally doable. This is exactly what I did with the help of my friend who directed me to some websites that she used to find her therapist. Sis explained the process for me and broke it down in a way that made perfect sense. Here’s what I did:
I LOOKED FOR A THERAPIST THAT FIT MY CRITERIA
If you have insurance, check with your insurance provider. They likely have a website that you can input filters (location, therapist credentials) and search from. If they don’t give them a call and ask for a list!
I ESTABLISHED CONTACT
So I was advised to make a list of all the therapists that fell under the criteria I selected. Then I created a generic email with the subject line “New Client Request – Dr. Name” and briefly introduced myself, named my insurance, and asked if they were accepting new clients. I took that email and sent it about a bunch of times and it took me no more than 30 minutes. They next day, my email was full of responses! It was that easy. Now in my case, the top 2 therapists I was most interested in informed me they were not accepting new clients and asked if I wanted to be put on a wait list, I said yes and a few weeks later my top choice called me asking if I was still interested as a spot had opened up.
6. ARE YOU COMMITTED TO BEING HONEST AND ACTIVE ABOUT YOUR HEALING?
One thing therapy requires if it’s going to be successful is your honesty. So sometimes that means confronting things you’d like to forget and facing your demons head on. Understand that therapy is a collaborative effort. Are you willing to do your part? Are you willing to be consistent and show up to do the hard work?
Before I sign off, I want to close by saying that your therapy journey is truly what you make it! I by no means am an expert with this stuff, but I can share my thoughts from my own personal experience. Walking through these questions and doing the work has really worked for me and my healing. I only hope that they will work for you too.
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